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Echo Park Named One of Top 10 Great Neighborhoods

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And when you hear that, you might find yourself asking which Realtor came up with that ranking. Luckily, this time there is some creditability behind the designation: the American Planning Association. They "singled out Echo Park because of its breathtaking topography set in the hills above downtown, historic architecture, pedestrian-oriented streets and stairways, and engaged residents who, over the years, have gone to great lengths to protect and preserve their community," according to an APA release (add: their website has more info and history on why EP was chosen) .

APA Executive Director Paul Farmer said "the neighborhood has a long history of citizen activism that has inspired not only spirited public debate, but also committed and motivated residents who are helping to keep Echo Park a great place to live."

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But activism and engagement isn't the only theme here. Festivals, classy dining alongside "spectacular burrito stands," a diversity of ethnic groups and income levels and great architecture such as craftsman-style and modern homes all add to Echo Park's great neighborhoodieness. Below are the two press releases sent out, one for Echo Park, the other announcing the other cities.


Echo Park Named One of Top 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2008 Los Angeles, CA, October 8, 2008 -- The American Planning Association (APA) announced today that Echo Park has been designated one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2008 through APA's Great Places in America program. APA Great Places is a national program that exemplifies communities with exceptional character and highlights the role that planning plays in creating communities of lasting value. Echo Park is a 120 year old, walkable Los Angeles community just west of Downtown. An Acceptance Ceremony will be Held on October 8th at 8:30 AM at Echo Park Lake.

Echo Park is a diverse community home to working class families and blossoming artists, and has had to work twice as hard as other communities to create, maintain and advocate for their great community. The community is remarkably dynamic with countless ethnic groups at all income levels. Today, Echo Park is home not only to the annual Lotus Festival, the Cuban Festival, and historic Filipinotown but also 4-star dining alongside spectacular burrito stands. The area features perfectly preserved craftsman-style homes, as well as modern architecture, great schools, parks and libraries.

Los Angeles urban planners have navigated issues of affordability and gentrification, historic preservation and pedestrian safety while guiding Echo Park's growth and development. APA has singled out Echo Park because of its breathtaking topography set in the hills above downtown, historic architecture, pedestrian-oriented streets and stairways, and engaged residents who, over the years, have gone to great lengths to protect and preserve their community.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa explained, "for generations people have come to Echo Park, raised their families, started vibrant businesses, and given back to the neighborhood and the city as a whole. Today kids, parents, and grandparents representing numerous backgrounds and cultures come together in Echo Park, making this community an outstanding example of the great neighborhoods found throughout Los Angeles."

"We're excited to select Echo Park as one of this year's Great Neighborhoods," said APA Executive Director Paul Farmer, FAICP. "The neighborhood has a long history of citizen activism that has inspired not only spirited public debate, but also committed and motivated residents who are helping to keep Echo Park a great place to live," he said.

APA Great Places are neighborhoods where people want to be - not only to visit, but to live and work every day.

About the American Planning Association - Los Angeles Section

American Planning Association - Los Angeles Section (APA LA) is one of eight local sections of APA's California Chapter. Comprised of more than 2,000 members in the Los Angeles region, APA LA brings local APA members together to share information and resources that make our communities stronger and healthier. APA LA sponsors a number of professional, educational and social events throughout the year.

American Planners Recognize 30 of the Country's Great Neighborhoods, Streets and Public Spaces

Washington, DC, October 8, 2008- The American Planning Association (APA) announced today the country's 10 Great Neighborhoods, 10 Great Streets and 10 Great Public Spaces that have been singled out for 2008 through the organization's Great Places in America national program. Launched in 2007, Great Places in America is APA's flagship program celebrating places of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.

"From U.S. border towns to Society Hill in Philadelphia to some of the oldest streets in America, a wonderful diversity of places from across the United States are represented by this year's designees," said APA Executive Director Paul Farmer, FAICP.

"We're honored to recognize the spirit and fortitude of the civic leaders and residents of these communities whose efforts show you do not have to level a neighborhood in order to spur urban renewal," he continued. "These Great Places are shining examples of planning at its best, when revitalization includes affordable housing, strengthens local economies, and puts green and sustainable ideas into action," Farmer said.

APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. They are places where people want to be -- not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America's truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many unique criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement. Through Great Places in America, APA recognizes the unique and authentic attributes of essential building blocks of great communities -- streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces.

The designees of Great Places in America 2008 are not ranked, but listed alphabetically. They are located in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Additional details about each designee are available at www.planning.org/greatplaces/.

2008 Great Neighborhoods in America

* Charles Village (Baltimore, MD)
* Downtown Salem (Salem, MA)
* Downtown Sheridan (Sheridan, WY)
* Echo Park (Los Angeles, CA)
* Greater Park Hill (Denver, CO)
* Greater University Hill (Syracuse, NY)
* North End (Boise, ID)
* Old Town (Wichita, KS)
* Society Hill (Philadelphia, PA)
* Village of Mariemont (Mariemont, OH)